Reclamation: South-of-Delta water contractors to receive 100 percent water supply

By on April 13, 2017
California Drought Water Reclamation Program

Following an exceptionally wet winter, the Bureau of Reclamation has announced it will release 100 percent of water supply allocations for Central Valley Project (CVP) water contractors South-of-Delta. This marks the first time in 11 years – since 2006 – that water contractors have been slated to receive a 100 percent allocation.

Earlier in the water year Reclamation announced water contractors except the agricultural South-of-Delta contractors would receive a 100 percent allocation; Municipal and Industrial (M&I) contractors South-of-Delta had originally been allocated 90 percent of their contracted supply.

However, an abundant and nearly record-breaking snow water equivalent (SWE) measured in the Sierra Nevada has resulted in the new 100 percent allocation. The March 30 SWE was measured at 45.8 inches or 164 percent of the historical average for that date which stands at 27.9 inches. Reclamation is now able to increase the South-of-Delta water allocation as a result of the abundant snowpack in the central and southern Sierra Nevada mountains.

“Following the California Department of Water Resources exceptional March 30 snow survey results, Reclamation is pleased to announce this increase to a 100 percent allocation for our South-of-Delta water contractors,” said Acting Regional Director Pablo Arroyave. “However, as Governor Brown reminded us last week when lifting California’s drought state of emergency, the next drought could be around the corner. It is crucial that we remain vigilant in conserving our precious water resources.”

California’s Gov. Brown lifted the state’s drought state of emergency on April 7 but cautioned Californians that “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

California Department of Water Resources Acting Director Bill Croyle has also cautioned Californians saying, “Technically, the drought is over, but…careful, sparing use of water from backyards to businesses and farm fields will help us endure the next inevitable drought.”

As of April 11, Reclamation announced these updated water supply allocations for South-of-Delta contractors:

  • M&I water service contractors South-of-Delta are allocated 100 percent of their contract supply.
  • Agricultural water service contractors South-of-Delta are allocated 100 percent of their contract supply.

With the new allocations, Reclamation has strongly encouraged the use of surface supplies instead of groundwater wherever possible through the remainder of the 2017 water year. In order to promote the effective use of supplies in San Luis Reservoir this year — and efficiency for next year’s operations –Reclamation will limit the overall amount of water to be carried over to the 2018 contract year to 150,000 acre-feet. Reclamation will continue to work with contractors regarding a strategy for water carried over from the 2016 water year and plans to effectively carry over water for the 2018 contract year.